"The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" – Movie Review

12/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Movie Review

Directed by Michael Apted, Written by C.S. Lewis (Novel), Christopher Markus (Screenplay), Stephen McFeely (Screenplay), and Michael Petroni (Screenplay), Rated PG, 115-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

Of all the fantasy sagas, few have struggled to find an audience like "The Chronicles of Narnia." The series’ latest film, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," underscores its weaker aspects. No longer surprised by the wonders of Narnia, the returning cast performs without their former luster, as they fulfill their duty to a series that refuses to grow with them.

Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) return to Narnia with their prim cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) to find their world terrorized by a soul-stealing green mist. In order to defeat the gas and save the captured souls, the children must find seven magical swords, while coming to terms with the woes of adolescence.

Much like the cast of the "Harry Potter" series, Henley and Keynes grew up onscreen. However, unlike the rival series, while the actors grow, their performances and worries stay very much the same. Screenwriters Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroni give Lucy and Edmund new mental battles with Lucy’s jealousy of her sister’s beauty and Edmund’s inferiority complex, but director Michael Apted, for the most part, ignores them, wrapping both problem and resolution up in two respective scenes.

There are two different films on display here, and Apted took the safe route of spectacle. He focuses closely on the story of the seven swords, which has almost no bearing on Lucy or Edmund’s inner conflict. Therefore, by the film’s end, they have hardly changed.

This lack of emphasis on the young actors’ growth may be to blame for their performances. At this point, Henley and Keynes just go through the motions. Their joyous return to Narnia washes away as their comfort in the face of the fantastic sets in. Nothing appears new to them, and likewise, nothing enchants us.

Narnia-lore isn’t treated with the same excitement or breadth of history of other fantasy films--thus, it’s difficult to generate enthusiasm for a story that doesn’t thrill its performers. Emotional connection now relies on the viewer. Those with a pre-existing interest in these characters may find joy in one more adventure, but pedestrian viewers may want to spend time in a different fantasy world.

Grade: C

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